It’s Easier to Preach Than Practice

Reading Current Cites this morning I had to laugh (in a rueful way). It includes a summary of the now well-known survey done by the University of California’s Office of Scholarly Communication that found faculty may be on board when it comes to accessing information but their behavior doesn’t match. They don’t want to be forced to engage in open access practices and rarely bother to do it voluntarily. Oh, for shame!

The next item, from the Journal of Academic Librarianship sounded interesting – about linking practice and research in academic libraries. The DOI took me here.

Nice to have such a handy shopping cart, but if we’re expecting other faculty to take action, why won’t we do it ourselves? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into this. Even Elsevier allows authors to post preprint versions of articles on the Web (albeit with some weird and inconvenient rules). We know the stakes. Why do so few librarians bother to put our words into action?

Maybe because it’s work? Maybe because nobody says you have to? Maybe because we’re hypocrites?

Anthropological Association Selects Closed

The NY Times may have grasped the new economics of open publishing, but the American Anthropological Association has recently announced a new partnership with Wiley-Blackwell to distribute the Association’s 23 journals, newsletters, and research portal AnthroSource.

Peter Suber has predicted that the open news trend will not spill over into scholarly journal publishing, arguing that scholarly journals cannot raise as much money from advertising even though they have lower costs. Suber also notes, however, that user expectations for free online access and heightened impact may eventually have an indirect effect on scholarly journals.

The AAA has acted in accord with their vested interests, but not necessarily in the interests of their profession or the general public. A comment on the Chronicle notes:

Let’s be clear about what is going on here: the AAA is using a private publisher to extract income from universities through their libraries. The bad news though is that university libraries will not be able to afford these increases. In the end fewer subscriptions will be sold and fewer people will have access to this scholarship. If the AAA really cared about scholarship in anthropology they would be pursuing an open access strategy.